About the Center for Popular Music

Mission Statement | Research Collections |

Programming and Outreach |  History of the CPM

The Center for Popular Music at Middle Tennessee State University is one of the world's oldest and largest research centers devoted to the study of American folk and popular music. Established in 1985 as a state-sponsored Center for Excellence, in 2009 it became a unit in the university's College of Media and Entertainment.

Mission Statement

The Center's mission is to promote research in American vernacular music, and to foster an understanding and appreciation of America's diverse musical culture. Thus, the Center:

  • manages and provides public access to a research archive
  • presents public programs that interpret various aspects of American vernacular music
  • engages in original research projects
  • disseminates the results of research via publications in various media
  • maintains a state-of-the-art recorded media preservation laboratory
  • sustains the educational mission of Middle Tennessee State University

Research Collections

The archive holds over one million items related to American vernacular music traditions, in formats that include sheet music, song books, sound recordings, video recordings, manuscripts, photographs, periodicals, posters, and catalogs. The Center for Popular Music reading room offers a reference collection of scholarly books and maintains periodical subscriptions covering a wide range of scholarly, professional, and consumer publications.

Programming and Outreach

The Center for Popular Music also strives to stimulate learning and the exchange of ideas through public programming, grant-supported projects, conferences, guest lectures, concerts, the Spring Fed Records label, social media engagement, digitization activities, and individual staff projects. We serve the students, faculty, and staff of MTSU, but are also open to the scholarly and musical communities, and engage regularly in outreach initiatives.

History of The Center for Popular Music

 The Center or Popular Music was founded in 1985 on the MTSU campus, duly funded by the State of Tennessee and MTSU. The Center is a state recognized Center of Excellence exemplifying the capabilities of higher education institutions to benefit the people of Tennessee by expanding research in the state and raising the stature of Tennessee statewide and internationally. 

Since, the Centers founding it has been our mission to collect and preserve music history to provide credible resources to suit the research needs of college students, community members, and international researchers. 

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MTSU Box 41
1301 E. Main Street
Middle Tennessee State University
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
Room 140
Bragg Media & Entertainment Bldg.
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